How to Increase Virtual Marketplace Sales with In-App Chat

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If a garage sale and the Internet had a baby, it would be a virtual marketplace.

What is a Virtual Marketplace?

The instant access to customer reviews, the negotiable prices, and the extraordinary convenience of marketplace apps is enough to give the behemoth of e-commerce a run for its money.

Unlike conventional e-commerce sites, the responsibility of maintaining inventory, shipping logistics, product images, descriptions, and pricing falls on the seller. The marketplace, usually an app, provides a platform to display the sellers' wares, host seller-to-buyer communication, facilitate transactions, and release payment after deducting a small commission fee.

One reason why consumers are attracted to certain marketplace experiences is that they see it is as an economical and ethical way to shop. Buyers submit their best offers and score finds at a major discount, and sellers make a profit by giving their items a second life instead of to the landfill.

B2C or C2C: Who are Marketplace Apps For?

The customer-to-customer (C2C) landscape has evolved greatly since the early aughts of eBay and Craigslist. Like OfferUp and Mercari, modern marketplace platforms provide a safe and easy-to-use place for sellers to sell and buyers to browse while the app banks a small percentage of each transaction.

But, there are also business-to-customer (B2C) marketplaces built exclusively for an exchange of services, like TaskRabbit, and even transactions requiring ongoing commitment, like how Zumper uses its technology to match landlords to tenants.

If your marketplace platform seems to check all of the boxes on paper but hasn’t gained any traction, it might be missing a feature essential to providing a top-quality user experience (UX), such as seamless buyer-to-seller communication.

What is In-App Chat?

In-app messaging is a native messaging solution users can access without leaving the application. Marketplace apps leverage in-app messaging to prompt users to make purchases, remind them of items they’ve saved, notify them if a saved item has sold, announce new features, and ultimately drive deeper engagement.

Unexpected Ways In-App Chat Increases Marketplace Sales

Adding in-app chat to your marketplace won’t directly impact the price of the goods and services sold; those are up to the seller. Instead, creating a line of communication between buyers and sellers humanizes the transaction, creates a greater sense of trust, and allows space for negotiations that make both parties feel good after sealing the deal. Combining these factors results in a positive user experience that will encourage them to come back, spend more, and bring their friends and family with them.

Here are the top benefits of a rich in-app chat interface and how they can influence your virtual marketplace sales:

Streamlined Communication

In-app chat eliminates the need for users to leave the marketplace to communicate with one another, streamlining UX and making negotiations more convenient than ever. These two efficiencies yield higher transaction completion rates, lower completion times, and happier customers.

Secure Transactions

By implementing a PCI DSS compliant chat interface, you can protect users’ privacy by letting them negotiate without disclosing personal contact information and eliminating the risk of disintermediation. Integrate in-app chat into your transaction workflow to secure and expedite marketplace transactions further. By placing power in your users' hands to confirm whether payment has been sent or received, you create a sense of urgency in the buyer/seller relationship that will encourage them to complete the transaction more quickly.

Data Collection

By adding in-app chat to your virtual marketplace, you gain access to valuable data you can leverage to better understand your customer base, their purchasing patterns, and preferences. Integrating a review system within your chat’s workflow will allow you to turn their feedback into data-driven decisions you can use to shape your app’s UX and ultimately drive more transactions.

Boosted Engagement

The more time users spend in your virtual marketplace, the more likely they’ll be to complete a transaction. By pairing in-app messaging with a push notification system, you'll be able to nudge users back into your app and keep buyer/seller conversations flowing while boosting engagement metrics and sales.

How to Add Chat to Your Virtual Marketplace App

Not sure whether to build or buy in-app chat for your virtual marketplace? We suggest the latter. Building a chat messaging solution from scratch is technically challenging and time consuming. Plus, the maintenance required post-integration can be equally laborious.

If your team is not equipped to build an in-house solution, outsourcing communication to a third-party platform like WhatsApp might sound tempting. But, by doing this you relinquish control of your customer relationship, data, and possibly even commission. You also run the risk of any security breaches, bugs, etc. of the third-party platform impacting your marketplace’s reviews.

Luckily, plenty of third-party vendors offer ready-made chat APIs and SDKs that greatly simplify the development of a reliable, scalable in-app chat infrastructure. By leaning on these plug-and-play chat components, your development team will be able to dedicate more resources to building out other features of your marketplace app and confidently launch the complete package in record time.

Ready to Add Messaging to Your Virtual Marketplace?

The virtual marketplace space is becoming more crowded by the minute, and your app must deliver more than just an exceptional UX to be competitive. In-app chat is a powerful tool to leverage as your volume of transactions increases and your user base grows and diversifies.

Owning a chat experience within your virtual marketplace means you’ll never miss out on earning commission like you would if your users were to complete their transactions on third-party apps like PayPal, WhatsApp, or Messenger. It also means that you maintain control of their user experience and can protect them by moderating conversations and applying profanity filters to ensure users enjoy a safe buying and selling environment on your app.

Ready to see sales skyrocket? Experience the power of in-app chat on your virtual marketplace free for 30 days!